Jumaat, 8 November 2013

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

E&O sets up sales gallery in Singapore


EASTERN and Oriental Bhd (E&O) has established a new sales gallery in Singapore at One Raffles Link.

Deputy managing director Eric Chan says the 4,118 sq ft sales gallery is an important platform in the international arena.

Its neighbours include iconic landmarks, multinational companies, foreign banks and upscale commercial buildings.

"Once we identified the right location and size, we then envisioned a space that catered to discerning clients. (We want to ensure) our clients could immediately relate and be inspired by E&O values the moment they step into our gallery," Chan told StarBiz. Brandishing the line "Expect nothing ordinary", the showroom welcomes its guests with its signature marble columns, known as Palissandro Blue, a natural stone sourced from Italy.

He says the gallery is a significant investment and the developer took almost two years to identify the location.

"The opening of the E&O Property Gallery is vital in our efforts to extend our reach overseas. Singapore is a gateway to the rest of Asia, which enables us to reach a wider regional and global audience," he says, adding that the Lion City has a growing number of affluent and high net worth individuals. "Singapore has naturally been a key anchor market in our foreign buyer segment. This is understandable given the proximity of our two countries, cultural ties and the pull of Malaysia's relatively more affordable properties."

He says international homeowners are exploring new frontiers and have become more open in investing in properties overseas. They will be looking for a trustworthy brand.

"Based on our clientele profile of more than 20 nationalities, there is a growing recognition of our brand and acceptance outside Malaysia," he says.

E&O's international home buyers represents about a third of its total buyers for its St Mary Residences project in Kuala Lumpur. They come from Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, China and Britain. Singaporeans made up 36% and 34% for the overall foreign buyers for St Mary Residences and Quayside, Penang respectively.

Its ties with international establishments has also helped open doors to an international audience.

He did not rule out the possibility of partnering with some of its existing partners again but noted that Avira Wellness City – a joint venture between Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd and E&O – for instance, will last the developer for five to seven years. He will be launching Avira next month.

"We have invested a lot of time and effort with (Japanese developer) Mitsui Fudosan and we hope this will continue after The Mews," he says.

It has proposed to acquire a 135 acres, part of the larger 5,000-acre City of Elmina, from major shareholder Sime Darby Bhd in September. This will be its second wellness-themed project.

"People are getting affluent at a younger age. They are taking preventive measures such as maintaining a more balanced lifestyle in order to prolong their quality active days. So why not translate this trend into a living environment?" he asks.

The process will take time as the master developer has to take into consideration land and infrastructure costs.

As for Avira, E&O will be working with Destination Spa Management which manages spas, health resorts and wellness centres to come up with Avira's concept.

"It's not (just) about retirement homes. It's about empowering you, to take wellness to your hands," he says.

The Kancils nets more entries


THE 2013 Kancil Awards, which took place in Kuala Lumpur last night, attracted 20% more entries this year at 1,512.

According to 4As creative council chairman Sa'ad Hussein, it shows that "people recognise Kancil as the main (advertising) awards show in the country."

"Our job here is to encourage creativity in Malaysia and invite more international judges to boost our standards," he tells reporters.

"The most important thing about the Kancil Awards is sharing the great works that the people in the industry have done, and the sharing and collaboration will actually help to improve Malaysia's standards of creativity," he adds.

The category that received the highest number of entries this year was the Outdoor category, followed by the Print Craft category.

The Kancil Awards, organised by the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As), added four new categories this year to 15.

The four categories were Film Craft, Mobile, Entertainment & Branded Content, and Vernacular.

"The four new categories may have been the reason for the increase in the number of entries for this year," says Sa'ad.

To keep up with the latest trends, he says the Mobile category is added to this year's competition due to an increase in ideas that are tailored for smart phones.

"We have to encourage mobile-based work, it is the new touchpoint of communication," he adds.

Meanwhile, on the judging criteria, Sa'ad, who is also chief creative officer of TBWA Group. says they remain unchanged and that the entries are assessed on three judging criteria – the idea (it must be original and inspiring), execution and relevance.

"At the end of the day, there must be a story in every little piece of communication. Whether it is for TV, radio or print, the story has to come through," says Edward Ong, executive creative director of Rapp Malaysia and also the Kancil Awards deputy chairman.

Saying that advertising is no different than fishing, Kancil Awards 2013 judges believe that advertising now is about going out there and looking for people. "They are not looking for you anymore," says Ong.

"In fishing, you have to understand how deep the water is, what kind of fish you want to catch, and then decide what kind of bait you want to put on the hook.

"What we are doing is trying is to hook the fish. The technique that we use in advertising is the kind of bait that we put onto the hook, and then hopefully the type of fish that we are looking for will take a bite," Ong said.

The Kancil Awards is the most prestigious creative award show in the local advertising industry.

Among the international judges this year were Yang Yeo from JWT Shanghai, China; Kentaro Kimura from Hakuhodo Kettle, Japan; Thomas H Kim from Cheil, Korea; Scott McClelland from BBH Singapore; Jaime Merlee from DM9, Philippines; Pann Lim from Kinetic Singapore; Johnathan Yuen from Whererootsare, Singapore; Dani Comar from Geometry Asia, Singapore; Noor Aishikin from DDB, Singapore.

TBWA Kuala Lumpur was the biggest winner at the Kancils last night, netting the "Agency of The Year" accolade with six silver and 14 bronze. BBDO "caught" the Golden Kancil for its campaign for KFC.

Shanghai tightens housing rules


BEIJING: Shanghai will raise the minimum down payment for second-home purchases to 70% from 60% in a bid to calm surging home prices, according to the city's housing bureau, following similar moves by other big cities in China.

Home prices in large Chinese cities have set records, despite a four-year long government campaign to cool the property market, raising concerns over a potential price bubble and even social unrest as housing becomes increasingly unaffordable for many people.

Shanghai is the third city to implement a minimum down payment for second-home buyers of as high as 70%, and its move comes after Shenzhen and Beijing tightened measures in recent months.

"We will continue to improve the systems of the property market and affordable housing to effectively curb excessively fast property price rises," the bureau said in a statement on its website. www.shfg.gov.cn. More cities are expected to follow suit.

"Guangzhou should be the next to move," said Liu Yuan, a head of research at property consultancy Centaline.

In Shanghai, where houses are among the most expensive in China, home prices rose 17% in September from a year ago. Guangzhou's prices jumped 20% and Beijing prices rose 16% in the month, both record growth rates.

China property shares extended losses yesterday after the announcement. Poly Real Estate ended down 1.1% in Shanghai, while Country Garden sank 3% and China Resources Land was down 1.6% in Hong Kong.

Property shares have been roiled by uncertainty ahead of the Communist Party's Third Plenum from today to Monday, which will see some of China's top leaders gather behind closed doors to set the economic agenda for the next decade. Investors are waiting to see if any controls on the market will be announced after the meeting.

Also under the new Shanghai rules, migrant families in the city without residence permits must have paid their monthly social security fees or income tax for two years before they are qualified to buy a first home in the city. Previously they only needed to pay the fees for one year.

The housing bureau would increase the land supply for residential homes and study ways to lower the threshold for affordable housing applicants next year to allow more people to be covered by public housing, it added. – Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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